This place has been popping up all over the blogosphere so I’d had it noted down in my ever-expanding list of places to visit from quite a while back. But because A recently brought it to my attention again, I had to prioritise it and move it up in the rankings, promising her that I would try it on her behalf. And so, this post is dedicated to my lovely A, who I’m sure is having the time of her life in Berlin, and who I miss more and more everyday.
Tramshed is part of Mark Hix’s food empire. Famous for its chicken and steak (check out its url at the end of this post), the restaurant is situated above an art gallery and houses artwork by Damien Hirst, which N was extremely eggcited about.
This was the focal point of the restaurant. If you can’t see it clearly, it’s a suspended tank filled with water, holding a cow with a chicken perched atop it. I apologise if my lack of linguistic skill and artistic sensibilities means I am effectively reducing a piece of great art to little more than a peculiar centre piece. I promise I tried my hardest.
There was also this painting at the far end, but we didn’t get anywhere near enough to take a picture.
Image from here
Please take the time to listen to this and reminisce about your childhood and better days spent watching ridiculously disturbing cartoons like Cow & Chicken.
The restaurant is in Shoreditch (but of course), a few minutes’ walk from Old Street tube station. We all know that I often get lost around the Old Street roundabout, but thankfully today I was with H and N, so we found our way there seamlessly enough.
It was only 7PM but the place was already quite packed. Luckily I had made reservations because there was a constant stream of people coming and going throughout the night.
Knowing that the place was famous for its roast chicken and steaks, we made up our minds really quickly. Although it took a while to place our orders because the place was so busy, the food arrived much quicker than I expected, and I can’t tell you how good it all smelt when they brought it to our table.
Glenarm mighty-marbled Sirloin Steak – 250g (£22.50)
The steak was cooked to our specification. The outside was nicely charred and the meat was pink, tender and flavorful. I had a problem with the gristle though. Normally I LOVE the fat on steaks, but the fat on this was a bit too tough, almost rubbery, so I gave it a miss.
All steaks are served with chips and bearnaise sauce, which is my favorite accompaniment for steak. The tarragon flavor in this wasn’t too strong, and there was just the right amount of vinegar in it so that it didn’t taste “soapy”.
Now let’s talk about the chicken.
Swainson House Farm roast chicken
with baked garlic sauce and chips -
for two/three to share
Must say, that chicken doesn’t look too comfortable.
They serve it whole at the table and carve it up in front of you at your request. It’s often far too easy to dismiss roast chicken as an everyday dish that you would never order at a restaurant. I make the same mistake myself. But this was pretty spectacular. The skin wasn’t crispy (but let’s face it: the skin on roast chicken never goes that crispy) but it wasn’t flaccid or difficult to eat in the slightest. The meat was succulent, juicy and tasty.
The chips were good – crispy on the outside and fluffy within. And those that were nestled in and around the chicken, soaking up those meaty juices and fats? GEMS.
They serve the food with a variety of sauces and condiments which they’ll be more than happy to top up for you if you are running low on supply.
And then we moved swiftly on to desserts.
We KNEW we had to get this.
Salted caramel fondue with marshmallows and doughnuts (£12.50)
This totally stole the show. The salted caramel was smooth and the perfect balance of savoury and sweet. The doughnuts were like churros – crisp, airy, sugary, cinnamonny – but they weren’t outstanding. Those marshmallows though? I repeat, those marshmallows??? They were the BOMBDIGGITY.
I’ve had homemade marshmallows before, and have tried my hand at making them with friends, but these were really something else. They had the perfect texture. Soft and fluffy to the touch, light and spongy when you bite into it, and ever-so-slightly melty and gooey in the centre… We couldn’t help mm-ing and ahh-ing while eating them.
We loved them so much, I felt it necessary to make friends with the lovely waitress, who very sweetly slipped us some more. I told her she made my life and she laughed. Feel free to try your luck if you go.
As we were sharing our puddings, I felt the need to order another.
Credit crunch ice-cream with hot chocolate sauce (£1.90 per scoop – we got 3)
This was basically vanilla ice-cream with chocolate chunks and honeycomb swirled into it. It’s served with a pot of chocolate sauce on the side, for you to douse your ice-cream with as you see fit. (We actually forgot all about the chocolate sauce, so when we finally remembered it, we just upended the whole thing over our ice-cream hahaha.)
This was reasonably good, but how bad can vanilla ice-cream, chocolate chunks and honeycomb be? And to be fair, it was pretty hard to top those marshies.
All in all, it was a really good night and we definitely enjoyed the experience. Although the restaurant was really crowded, the large space and high ceilings meant it was still nice and airy, not stifling or cramped in the least. Also, I was pleasantly surprised by how effortlessly we could converse and hear one another over the general noise (again I think it was the high ceilings, but I could be wrong).
One thing we noticed was how popular the restaurant was with MEN, particularly of the well-dressed, well-groomed variety, and we put it down to the type of fare they offer here. It definitely is a nice change of pace from pub grub. Having said that, I think the menu and presentation is still sophisticated enough for a girls’ night out.
We saw this on the wall along Rivington Street and I had to take a photo of it when I realised that this picture of Darwinian evolution, if reversed, is kind of like a pictorial representation of my friends and me when we eat. We start off civilised (extreme right)… and end up so full we can’t even stand up straight (extreme left).
After a day of no-holds-barred eating, even if I didn’t actually spontaneously combust and die from fear under my tutor’s steely gaze during Family Law today (I’m sure she could tell that I didn’t know the outcome of the case), I kind of exploded after my new neighbor came over for a night of ice-cream and girly talk.
32 Rivington Street
Monday & Tuesday: 1130AM to 11PM
Wednesday-Saturday: 1130AM to 1230AM
Sunday: 1130AM to 10PM